Triggers: small and misread

Caitlin was at craft club at our Gym. She fell over, and bumped her head. They checked her over and saw she was ok, physcially, but they aren’t aware of the mental implications. Caitlin withdraws in times of anxious-ness, so instead of crying and showing she’s hurt or worried, instead of saying she needed to go to Mumma or Daddy, instead of saying she feels she needs comfort, she holds it in.

This is what happened at craft club. She held it in. She didn’t get the comfort she needed, Mumma always gives her arnica for a bumped head – this is a sign she’s being looked after and being kept safe. This is not a “normal” response for places like the gym, so naturally she didn’t get it. To her this felt like neglect. She’s only recently learned how to protect herself when falling (arms out). So when she falls, she gets super worked up inside (like someone is trying to hurt her), she needs to be comforted and talked back around from this.

Now, I am not writing this to bash the gym in the slightest; without producing a binder of “Caitlin psychology” I am not possibly going to be able to cover every action/reaction/consequence with them. Instead to highlight how easy it easy to not see what’s really going on, and what the consequence of that is.

So onward to the consequences…

By the time she got home, she was frantic. It was actually Daddy Bruce who’d taken her to the gym – Mumma had stayed at home to do some work. Daddy Bruce and Caitlin still have some patches in their relationship (due to some of the issues of Caitlin’s past) so when she’s at her most anxious it’s only Mumma that can console her and bring that anxiety back down. They had been due to stay for a play in the soft play afterwards, but that couldn’t happen, Bruce could see there was no point so he’d headed straight home.

Some arnica and some rescue remedy later and she was calm enough to have cuddles, but at this point needed to feel the nurture, care and safety she required right down to the core. I asked her what would help and threw some suggestions out there. The response was effectively to become a baby; a bottle of warm milk, some cuddles with Mumma, a blanky, a nappy and some time. She was extremely clingy for a few hours, but once she could settle her mind back into feeling safe and cared for, all was good.